Struggling smartphone makers, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) have signed an agreement ending all current patent licensing disputes between the two companies. The deal includes a one-time payment from RIM to Nokia, as well as ongoing payments to Nokia. The two companies did not disclose the financial details of the agreement.
Seemingly nonstop litigation among Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), Samsung Electronics, HTC and nearly every other smartphone maker has become a hallmark of the explosion in mobile devices. The deal between Nokia and RIM could be the beginning of the end to the litigation, or it could unleash a new round.
Nokia has now established that it owns intellectual property of some value, and the company may decide to increase its efforts in the patent wars. Bloomberg cites an analyst who believes the one-time payment may be “several hundred million euros” and the ongoing payments may be as much as 100 million euros a year for five years. That’s not chump change, and if Nokia decides that it can extract similar payments from other competitors, the game will be on. Nokia could certainly use the cash.